Today I hit a milestone that a year ago, was not even in my mind for possible consideration.
I lifted 315 pounds on the bench!
Honestly, I really can’t believe it. If I didn’t have it on video, I am not sure I would believe it.
I went to the gym early this morning, as I do every day. I always start with a 1 hour bike ride. However, today I had decided that I would only do 30 minutes since I have not had a day off from riding in over a month. But when I got on the bike and finished my 30 minutes, I couldn’t stop. I ended up riding another 50 minutes before I had stopped.
For some reason, I was feeling pretty good.
I cleaned off the bike and headed over to the bench press area of the gym. Usually on Saturdays it is pretty crowded and I have to wait for a bench. Not today.
I decided to do my normal first set of warmups at 155. I did 20 reps as usual. It felt ok. After 155 I usually continue the warmup at 185 doing 15-20 reps. Today I chose to do only 10 because I wanted to save some strength for my attempt at 315.
After doing some stretches, I put up 8 reps of 225. It was after this set, that I had a strange sense of strength and I had a good feeling about what was going to happen. I then did 3 reps of 275 that were not agonizingly hard.
I knew it was time.
I racked up 315 on the bar. Stretched my arms and shoulders and then drank some water. I had to find someone to spot me at that weight. There were not too many people around, but there was this one HUGE mass of muscle dude that is there all the time. I think he was an ex-NFL player.
I walked over after he finished a set of arm curls and asked if he would be willing to spot me. He was very nice and came over to assist. You can see him in the video below.
I had a strange and peaceful calm about me as I laid down on my back and scooched underneath the bar. I put my hands on the bar and find my comfortable position.
I grunted ok and told me spotter that I was going to start.
As soon as I had the bar up, I knew this was going to happen. I carefully lowered the bar to my chest and came to the moment of truth. Would I be able to push it back up?
As soon as I began to press up, I felt a weird strength about me. There is a moment in the press up where you get to a breaking point. I had the tiniest nanosecond of doubt flash through me head as I approached that point. When I did, I heard my spotter spurt out a grunt of “up!”.
I pushed right through the breaking point and he gave 2 more “ups” and I finished the press with surprising ease. I say that not because it was easy. I say it because it was not as brutal as I had anticipated it to be.
I was so freaking happy!
When you watch the video below, in addition to seeing my lift, watch the two dudes to the left. I don’t think they knew how to take someone of my age and size being able to lift that.
Their sense of incredulity matches my own when I think about how unlikely it was for me to ever lift weights, let alone bench 315.
I started paying serious attention to my lifting at the beginning of 2020. I started tracking my lifts in February. The chart below shows the story of my PRs for the year.
You can see in the chart about that I was on a pretty strong trajectory before Covid hit. When I started back up in September, it was almost like starting over.
Each time I make a PR, I take a picture. You can see the myriad of photos from the year.
I am really please with my work on the bench this year. I hit my goal about a month earlier than my target. So I guess I am going to set another short term goal for the end of the year.